These are the essential resources I’ve used to sell 70,000+ fiction books over the last six years without an agent or publisher. Current as of July 3, 2023.
NOTE: I only list services I’ve actually used.
Listed price is for a complete cover (eBook and print-on-demand). Prices fluctuate due to exchange rates; they might also change depending on complexity or in the future. These are listed from most expensive to least; this is not a quality ranking. These designers can also create assets like Facebook banners, logos and so forth. Note that some designers have long lead times, so contact them a minimum of 3 months in advance of your publication date.
- Bookfly Design ($799)
- Damonza ($795)
- eBookLaunch ($595)
- Bukovero ($350 for eBook only)
- Natasha Snow ($330)
- Beetiful Designs ($300 for eBook only)
- 99Designs ($299+)
- MIBLART ($200)
- Go On Write ($45 pre-mades)
ILLUSTRATED COVER DESIGN
- Tom Edwards (varies based on complexity of illustration; my cover was ~$950) (sci-fi)
- Alberto Besi (varies based on complexity of illustration; my cover was $800)
- I recommend Vellum ($29 per book/$249 for unlimited use). Beautiful, simple, and intuitive eBook & print formatting with a single click. Mac only, but I ran it on Windows with MacInCloud ($30 for 30 hours). That was usable, but the latency made that a little choppy…so I bought a Mac specifically to run Vellum. It’s that good.
- Scrivener ($40 Windows/$45 Mac) and Adobe InDesign ($30/mo) can also format eBooks and print interiors, but are far less user-friendly.
- Reedsy and Draft2Digital both offer free formatting tools.
- ConvertKit (free up to 300 subscribers; $25/mo for 1k+ subs): I use this for all my lists; well-designed interface and a solid feature set that balances ease of use with advanced features.
- Active Campaign ($9/mo for up to 500 subs; $29/mo for 1k+ subs): has more advanced automation features than ConvertKit, but a less user-friendly interface.
BUSINESS & MARKETING TOOLS
- Book Edge ($18/mo): a lightning fast and much improved dashboard for displaying/analyzing your Amazon KDP sales data that requires no installation.
- Story Origin ($10/mo): similar to BookFunnel and Prolific Works for cross promotions, but with more features (including tools to help you manage things like beta readers and audiobook codes) and a super-responsive developer who is constantly releasing updates.
- Book Funnel ($5/mo): seamlessly delivers your free books (e.g., reader magnets) to email subscribers. Vital for building your mailing list. Also offers opportunities to join cross promotions with other authors.
CRAFT & MARKETING BOOKS
Recommendation lists usually devolve into overwhelming and useless 35 page appendixes. I’ll be frank: I read a lot of books. Most are not good. These are indispensable.